One of the greatest challenges to keeping your smile looking its best is to take the time every day to brush and floss your teeth. When you are getting orthodontic care, you’ll want to step up your oral hygiene game to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy when your teeth are finally aligned. This means brushing and flossing every day!
Flossing, or interdental cleaning removes the harmful dental plaque that builds up around the teeth and gum line. Plaque, or biofilm, is a bacterial film that attacks tooth enamel and gum tissue. And while toothbrushing does a great job cleaning tooth surfaces, it can’t squeeze into the areas between teeth. It takes a special flossing tool to clear out those tight places where the teeth meet and along the gum line. When getting orthodontic treatment, it’s more important than ever to get in there and clear out the harmful bacteria daily to avoid preventable dental issues.
What Happens When Plaque Thrives Unchecked
-Dental plaque that isn’t removed daily quickly hardens, turning into tartar which will need to be removed by a hygienist using tartar removing tools.
-Lingering plaque and tartar target your gums, inflaming them so they hurt. The good news is that catching gum disease in the beginning stage is actually removable but not so with advanced periodontitis.
-Dental caries or cavities crop up when tartar makes holes in your tooth enamel. When this happens you can find yourself with toothache pain or infection with diseased gums and teeth that may need a root canal to save your tooth.
-Chronic poor oral health has been directly linked to general health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and cardiovascular and respiratory disease.
If you are wearing Invisalign® clear aligners to straighten your teeth, you can just remove them to thoroughly brush and floss, removing dental plaque. Braces take a little more maneuvering since you’ll need to clear those areas around the hardware. Whether you’re wearing Invisalign clear aligners or braces, follow these flossing tips to keep your pearly whites looking and feeling their best:
Waxed or unwaxed string floss: Just pull out the amount you need, wrap it around your index fingers and then glide it in between your teeth and braces parts to lift oral bacteria and food particles.
Dental picks: The floss comes pre-attached to a plastic holder, just slide it gently in between teeth and braces hardware to get rid of oral debris.
Interdental brush: These tiny “toothbrushes” are great if you have small gaps between your teeth (or your braces) to clean.
Water flossers: These “oral irrigators” come with tips that aim a water stream between teeth and orthodontic hardware. Begin at the back of your mouth where the molars are and follow your gum line to clean each tooth.
Whatever flossing tool you enjoy using be sure to use it daily so your teeth being straightened will look and feel their best when you complete your orthodontic treatment! Your smile will thank you!